Successful advocacy can take time, patience, help from others, and lots of goodwill. If you have ever tried to convince someone to do something for whatever purpose, this comes as no surprise. Yet, when your efforts are successful and good things come from it, it’s always worth looking back on the journey to “yes,” revisiting those key moments when such persistence made the difference.
Last month, DCUC was happy to report that the NCUA Board unanimously approved expanding the definition of “qualified charities” as it pertains to its regulation on Charitable Donation Accounts allowing for more disbursements to Veteran Service Organizations. To be honest, when Abound CU at Fort Knox, Kentucky raised this issue, I thought it would be a slam dunk in terms of getting approval. Who would want to exclude veteran service organizations from charitable donations?
So, when we started advocating for this change in November of 2021, I felt confident it would only take a couple months to be successful. However, I am reminded of what Heavyweight Champ Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” While we didn’t get “punched in the mouth,” the NCUA legal staff advised against making the change, knocking our efforts back a few steps. Thus, it would take 18 months to eventually get to the “yes.”
Time and patience were not the only important factors that helped us claim success. As President Harry S. Truman once said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” As long as DCUC’s advocacy victories remain Anthony Hernandez, President and CEO, DCUC CEO UPDATE centered on championing the best interests of our military and veteran members, we don’t mind who gets “bragging rights” so long as these members are the ones gaining a deserved benefit or protected from a notable risk.
In this case, DCUCoffers many thanks go to NAFCU, CUNA, TruStage, NCUF and even the VFW for their tireless support and joint efforts in securing this victory. Plus, there was plenty of help from the local veterans’ groups in and around Fort Knox with Abound CU (among others) writing to the NCUA and/or their congressional delegation. It is always great to have fellow system partners striving for the same goal.
I also want to thank all three of the NCUA Board members and their Chiefs of Staff. Each board member had a major role in championing this cause. Additionally, the NCUA staff, both at the national and regional level, had a major influence on changing the regulation. Effective regulation that addresses the needs of the people often takes hard-serving civilian professionals to implement change.
I know there may be some veteran service organizations who will never fully understand exactly what happened, but there will be 18 million veterans who’ll benefit from this change. So, I want to say THANK YOU on their behalf!
Lastly, we end with goodwill. Goodwill is of tremendous value when a company or organization advocates for change. It can’t necessarily be directly measured. For DCUC, we see it reflected as an outgrowth of our reputation and our members’ loyalty. Over the last 60 years, DCUC has worked hard to earn this goodwill and we are incredibly proud and thankful for where we find ourselves today.
DCUC now represents over a quarter of the credit union industry, and our members continue to grow at a much faster rate than other credit unions. This does not just happen on its own! It is built on years of their dedicated service, setting the example, and going the extra mile for each of their members.
The best part: we see how each of our member credit unions take special care of their military and veteran members. Thus, it is our honor to champion causes that further benefit our Nation’s servicemembers and veterans. A special thanks to each of you for serving those who serve/ served our country. Please join us for our CEO UPDATE continued from page 5 upcoming “Speaking Military: Enhancing Credit Union Communication and Support for Military and Veteran Members” webinar, hosted by CUInsight on Wednesday, July 12, from 1:00 - 2:00 PM EDT. We’d love to see you there!
And now, onto the next advocacy campaign! See John McKechnie’s Capital Corner in the June 2023 issue of the ALERT on page 8 for a look at what’s next!